Bad Habits All Parents Should Stop Doing In Front of the Kids

Father and Son in Hammock

Children so closely imitate the actions and attitudes of their parents, and it is not uncommon to still hear the phrase, “chip off the old block” when talking about family. Children are very impressionable and easily influenced by their parent’s habits and examples. While you do your best to instill good morals and teachings, your actions speak louder than words. The following are some bad habits that parents should break before kids start to imitate them.

Negative Self-Talk

It is so easy to fall in the habit of using negative self-talk. Saying small things like how dumb you are for forgetting the keys, or much thinner you wish you were can really rub off on young kids. Sometimes the things parents say about themselves are so damaging, kids will start to believe it for themselves. When parents engage in negative self-talk within earshot of their kids, they are setting a dangerous precedent. Children see parents as invincible role models. If you are not careful, your children may copy you and begin saying negative things about themselves when they make a mistake.

Talking Bad about Others

Children do not always understand adult relationships. For them, things are black and white, cut and dry. They unconditionally love the important people in their life including grandparents, older cousins, teachers, and neighbors. When children hear parents saying something negative about people they love, it can have a negative emotional impact on them. It could cause them to resent their parents, or cause them to feel they are being disloyal to their parents if they do not mimic the negative feelings their elders have. 

Controlling Every Situation

Parents may fall in the habit of trying to control every situation their children face in order to prevent them from failing. However, failure is a part of life. Children learn from their failures and become better because of them. Instead of controlling or trying to prevent mistakes, parents should get in the habit of letting their children learn from life experiences. It will only make them better in the long run.

Being Too Comfortable

If parents are afraid of things, avoid certain foods, or consistently try to get out of situations that make them feel uncomfortable, their kids are going to be afraid of the exact same things. Parents can break this habit by trying new things with their children and encouraging them to not be afraid of the unknown. Challenge kids and make them feel brave and empowered when facing a new situation.

On the other hand, reckless behavior can also be a bad habit. If parents constantly drive angry, take risks, and disregard rules, children will as well. Teach kids to be cautious when the time calls for it. Follow the own rules you set for your kids like not doing drugs or staying up late. They will see you are serious about the rules you make and follow them yourself. See if you can get third hand help and input as well, like taking them to talk with a counselor about the dangers of drunk driving, or the fire station to learn about ways to avoid risk at home.

Children are extremely impressionable. Make sure the impression you leave encourages them to grow up to be responsible, well-balanced, happy adults. These bad habits can get you both into trouble. Use your head and try to encourage kids as they start out on their own.

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.